From being the most polluted city in the state, Ludhiana has witnessed a positive change this Diwali. The city's ranking has come down to number three in air pollution and number 2 in noise pollution on Diwali.

The data released by Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) for the state revealed that the average value of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), gathered from commercial, residential and sensitive areas, was 205 parts per million (ppm) in Ludhiana on Diwali night which is less than Amritsar (272 ppm) and Jalandhar (211.7ppm).

Average SO2 and NOX values for the city have been 13.7 ppm and 32.7 ppm, which are less than the values for Amritsar (17 and 37, respectively) and Jalandhar (16.7 and 31, respectively). Patiala witnessed lowest values of average RSPM, SO2 and NOX in the state at 138, 5.3 and 13 ppm, respectively.

As per the data on noise pollution, Ludhiana was ranked number two 69.1 decibels after Patiala (71.13 decibels) and followed by Amritsar (64.6) and Jalandhar (61.3).

Importantly, the data revealed how air pollution in the city has come down over the years.

The average RSPM for the city was 419 ppm in 2011 that has come down by more than half this year. Similarly, the average SO2 level for the city on Diwali has decreased from 24ppm in 2011 to 13.7ppm this year and average NOX has fallen from 52ppm in 2011 to 32.7 ppm in 2015.

Noise level for the city too has witnessed a decrease from 73.2 db in 2011 to 69.1 db.

Meanwhile, elated green activists say that they will make more efforts to ensure further drop in the pollution levels.

Ajaydeep Singh, a green activist, said, ""It feels great that efforts of activists spreading awareness against air and noise pollution on Diwali are bearing fruits. However, it wouldn't have been possible without the support of Ludhiana residents. Hopefully the festival of light will be wonderful next year as well and people celebrate smoke-free Diwali"".

In Ludhiana, air pollution level in residential areas has been the lowest at 148 ppm this Diwali which is lower than sensitive areas (179) and commercial areas (289).

Noise pollution level on Diwali in residential areas of Ludhiana was ranked second in the state at 66.3 db which is second to Patiala where it was 72.7 db.

Air pollution at Golden Temple witnessed a fall from 390 ppm in 2011 to 244 ppm this year. Similarly SO2 and NOx value dropped from 23 ppm and 43ppm, respectively, to 15ppm and 34ppm.

Source: November 14, 2015, The Times of India